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NNSA Reaches Milestone with Follow-On Cooperative Agreements to Accelerate Domestic Production of Molybdenum-99

Agreements Complete Full $25 Million NNSA Award for Each Project

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) announced that it has entered into follow-on cooperative agreements with three commercial entities to establish a reliable domestic source of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) that will be produced without the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU). These cooperative agreements fund the following efforts:

  • SHINE Medical Technologies’ development of an accelerator with low enriched uranium (LEU) fission technology;
  • NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, LLC’s development of an accelerator technology; and
  • General Atomics’ development of an LEU target fission technology.

NNSA’s support to these commercial entities is based on a 50/50 percent government/commercial cost-share basis, up to a total of $25 million NNSA contribution to each project.  These follow-on cooperative agreements mark an important milestone for the NNSA Mo-99 Program, as they complete the full $25 million NNSA contribution toward each commercial project.

“NNSA is pleased to see continued progress of these important efforts,” said Anne Harrington, NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation.  “We are happy to achieve the funding milestone marking the full $25 million NNSA award for each project, and we look forward to seeing this important isotope produced in the United States without the use of HEU, and ensuring a reliable supply is available to meet U.S. patient needs.”

Mo-99 is the parent isotope of technetium-99m (Tc-99m), the most widely used radioisotope in nuclear medical diagnostic imaging. It is used in approximately 80 percent of nuclear medicine procedures—about 50,000 medical procedures in the United States every day. The United States does not currently produce Mo-99 and therefore imports all of its supply from foreign producers, some of which use HEU in the production processes.

In addition to its support for the establishment of commercial, domestic Mo-99 production without HEU, NNSA also works with international producers to assist in the conversion of their Mo-99 production facilities from the use of HEU targets to LEU targets. These efforts are part of NNSA’s Office of Material Management and Minimization’s mission to minimize and, to the extent possible, eliminate the use of HEU in civilian applications worldwide, including in research reactors and medical isotope production facilities.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear explosive testing; works to reduce the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. Visit for more information.